Meetings have been going on throughout the week between city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in New York City about how to prepare for a possible indictment of former President Donald Trump as early as next week, multiple sources told CNN.
Meetings have been held between senior staff members from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the New York State Court Officers – who provide security at the state Supreme Court building in lower Manhattan – and the New York Police Department, according to law enforcement officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The discussions have been about how to navigate the potential indictment for a criminal charge by a New York county grand jury and the choreography around the possibility of an unprecedented arrest of a former president of the United States.
An indictment would involve setting a date and time for Trump to surrender. Trump’s US Secret Service detail would deliver him to the Manhattan district attorney’s office for fingerprinting and then taking mugshots in offices of the district attorney’s detective squad. As is customary in cases where a defendant is allowed to voluntarily surrender, after arrest processing, the former president would be brought directly to an arraignment before a judge where he would likely be released on his own recognizance.
Law enforcement officials who are privy to the discussions said several concerns have been discussed in the planning process, including courthouse security and the potential for demonstrations or rallies outside of the courthouse by Trump supporters and/or counter demonstrations by anti-Trump protesters, with the risk of the two groups clashing.
Discussions involving the NYPD and the FBI have also focused on the possibility that a criminal charge against Trump may increase threats to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his staff from the former president’s supporters. Those threats have come from groups like the Proud Boys and those who believe in online conspiracy theories such as QAnon.
A federal law enforcement source said Secret Service agents in charge of Trump’s security detail in Palm Beach, Florida, have been in touch with the Secret Service’s New York office. They have discussed the logistics of getting the former president into the district attorney’s office, past crowds and a media throng, through the arraignment process and out of the courthouse. They have also discussed the possibility that the former president and his lawyers may want to hold a news conference either outside the courthouse or at another location, possibly Trump Tower.
The process of arranging a surrender, processing an arrest, going through an arraignment, and, presumably, a release from the courthouse are fairly routine within New York’s criminal justice system.
However, the unprecedented complications and considerations around how to handle that with a former president of the United States under armed Secret Service protection, and who maintains a large following, has caused the series of in-person meetings over the last several days to deal with logistics, security and coordination.